the power of Team

One of the greatest gifts of serving the United Methodist Church as Director of Communications for an Annual Conference is the opportunity to work as a team again.  I didn't realize until I was appointed to Extension Ministry, how lonely it is in parish ministry.  

I think this is because boundary training is very clear that pastors and their parishioners are not to get too chummy, for fear that it may blur the lines when it comes to pastoral care and authority.  And while I get this, it also then can prevent laity and clergy from forming a strong bond as a team.  (Of course, this is not always the case, I had a wonderful church staff/team in parish ministry...but there was still something lacking.)

In my current context, I serve with 3 other directors in the West Virginia Conference, and we work really well as a team.  Our team is focused on living into the vision and mission of the conference: "We are a Christ-led, spiritual breath of fresh air that changes the world."  "Our mission is to discover, develop and deploy passionate spiritual leaders who change the world."  As communicator it is my assignment to keep these at the forefront of our work.

But the true joy comes from working with our Communications team.  I meet monthly with the Executive team using the SLI (Spiritual Leadership Incorporated) model.  Our facilitator does an excellent job helping us grow in the Loving, Learning and Leading model as a team. During our time together we dream big dreams and invite innovative and creative approaches to helping our churches communicate well the Good News of the Gospel.

Communication Team retreat @Spring Heights Camp, 8.17
Our entire Communications team also meets monthly for an hour or so via WebEx.  During our time together we touch base with one another, sharing joys and concerns and updates on our work in our districts and overall with the conference communications plan.  We meet face to face a couple of times a year - for retreats and again at annual conference.  Recently we added a Monday morning check-in - using Facebook Messenger as a platform for quick updates about projects that are on the forefront.  We set aside about 20 minutes to check in with each other.  

All of these touchpoints allow us to develop relationships, form trust and to focus - to keep the main thing, the main thing.  When we have big projects, such as Annual Conference, we are already formed as a team and can move into our work together with a high level of trust and excitement and flexibility, like last year when we added a whole new feature to our conference publications that ended up spinning off into videos as well!

I value my time in the local church and perhaps one day I will return to parish ministry, but I relish my time working as a team with the laity and clergy who make up the team that I am part of today.  Our Communications team vision is: Engage People. Empower Disciples. One Shared Story.  Together I believe we are living into our conference vision - and that causes me to pause and give thanks!


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